Iraq's cascade of violence claimed more American lives, with a bomb attack on a military convoy in Baghdad early Monday killing one U.S. soldier and gunmen slaying two others in attacks hours earlier.
Insurgents threw a homemade bomb at a U.S. convoy in northern Baghdad early Monday, killing a soldier, said Sgt. Patrick Compton, a spokesman for the military.
Late Sunday, two assailants fired on another U.S. military convoy killing another soldier. Troops returned fire, killing one of the attackers and wounding the other, Compton said. The wounded suspect was taken into custody.
In the third fatal attack, an assailant shot a U.S. soldier in the head at close range as he waited to buy a soft drink at Baghdad University at midday Sunday.
Since President Bush declared the war over on May 1st, nearly 30 American soldiers have been killed in hostile actions, reports CBS News Correspondent David Hawkins.
In other developments:
U.S. troops on patrol in Baghdad and other areas have been attacked several times a day, and Iraqi police and civilians perceived to be working with the occupying forces also have been targeted.
In the most serious such attack, U.S. Army Maj. William Thurmond said it was too early to tell whether a pattern was emerging that would suggest insurgents are targeting foreign civilians, but he said such a strategy could thwart news gathering and humanitarian relief efforts.
"Hopefully they're isolated events and we won't have to face them in the future," Thurmond said. "It might work to the advantage of someone who's trying to fight the coalition."
Con Coughlin, an expert on Iraq and author of the book Saddam: King of Terror, told the CBS News Early Show that Saddam is probably playing a role in the attacks on Americans.
"I have no doubt that he's alive … no doubt that he's behind all these attacks that have escalated alarmingly over the last few weeks," said Coughlin, who noted that other suspects — like the Shiites in southern Iraq — were not causing much trouble.
The U.S. last week offered $25 million for information leading to Saddam's capture. But Coughlin points out that Saddam may have access to as much as $40 billion, and be able to offer payouts of his own. "$25 million is small change compared to what Saddam's got to play with," he said.
One of the hot spots in recent days is Ramadi. Four soldiers were wounded late yesterday when a grenade hit their convoy. Several Iraqis were reported injured, and at least one killed.
Tension has been ratcheted up in the town since a bomb blast on Saturday killed seven Iraqi police recruits as they graduated from a U.S.-taught training course. Dozens more were injured.
The U.S. military blamed the attack on pro-Saddam Hussein insurgents seeking to target those working with the Americans, but many in Ramadi said they thought the Americans themselves were behind the incident.
The killing of the U.S. soldier waiting to buy a soft drink Sunday was similar to the slaying of a young British freelance cameraman, who was shot in the head outside a Baghdad museum on Saturday.
In a similar incident, an assailant with a pistol shot and critically injured a U.S. soldier in the neck on June 27 as he shopped on a Baghdad street.
On Saturday, insurgents fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the United Nation's International Organization for Migration office in Mosul, 240 miles northwest of Baghdad. The grenade slammed into a wall and damaged several cars, said Hamid Abdel-Jabar, a spokesman for the U.N. special representative in Iraq.
The death of the British cameraman and the grenade attack on a U.N. compound raised concern that Iraq's worsening insurgency - until now targeting only coalition troops and Iraqis accused of U.S. collaboration - has spread to Westerners in general.